President Obama unveiled his first budget on Thursday, proposing a radical change of course that would begin paying for new spending on health and education by raising taxes on the rich and slashing farm subsidies. The spending plan would hike the deficit Obama inherited for the current fiscal year from $1 trillion to $1.7 trillion. (The New York Times)
What the commentators said
Obama says his gigantic budget "reflects 'hard choices,'" said John Hinderaker in Power Line, "but of course that is silly. The administration has made no hard choices at all." It just "opened the floodgates and spent money in nearly every possible way, to the tune of $3.7 trillion, an amount that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago."
Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, said Brian Blackstone in The Wall Street Journal. But the math only adds up if you believe the "rosy scenario" the administration uses to predict where unemployment and inflation are headed. The White House sees domestic product growth bouncing back to 3.2 percent next year—helpful for tax revenue, but unlikely.
"Republicans will call it big-spending," said Andrew Leonard in Salon. "They will be correct." As the Journal notes, a $1.75 trillion deficit represents a "whopping" 12.3 percent of GDP, which hasn't happened since World War II. But now it's clear that any progressive who still thinks Obama "is aiming too low or hewing too close to the middle needs to seriously consider some aggressive psychotherapy."